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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 March, 2003, 18:16 GMT
Lecturer's 'quiz show failure'
Tecwen Whittock
Mr Whittock denies cheating on the show
A lecturer accused of helping an army major cheat and win Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? has portrayed himself in court as a serial quiz show failure.

Self-confessed "anorak" Tecwen Whittock, who allegedly guided the officer to the jackpot with a string of coded coughs, recalled a number of TV and radio programmes where his performance had been poor.

London's Southwark Crown Court heard that he had performed unimpressively in Sale of the Century, Brain of Britain, Fifteen-To-One and The People Versus.

Mr Whittock, 53, of Heol-y-Gors, Whitchurch, Cardiff, who is head of business studies at Pontypridd College, south Wales, is in the dock with Charles Ingram and his wife Diana, both 39, of Easterton, Wiltshire.

Major and Mrs Ingram
The Ingrams deny the charges
They each deny a single count of procuring the execution of a valuable security by deception on 10 September, 2001.

The Crown alleges that Mr Whittock used a total of 19 strategic coughs to help the major climb towards the jackpot.

Earlier, Diana Ingram had denied coughing in an attempt to signal one of the answers to him.

Mrs Ingram said her husband was "very intelligent" and "quite capable of winning" without resorting to dishonesty.

She added that she did not think it odd when she and her husband were searched after the win.

She told the jury claims made by a programme researcher at the start of the trial that the couple had rowed in the dressing room were untrue.

Chris Tarrant
Chris Tarrant was shocked at the allegations

On Monday, Mrs Ingram was also questioned about phone calls made to pagers.

The prosecution has suggested Mr Ingram planned to use four vibrating pagers that would have enabled the correct answer to be sent to him, but dropped the idea because it was "too risky".

Mrs Ingram was also questioned over how she had come to know Mr Whittock.

Her husband claims he had never met him before the cheating allegations arose.

'Coughing fraud'

The prosecution said Mrs Ingram had spoken to Mr Whittock on the phone after the first recording of the show. It was the 39th time she had rung him, they said.

They said that it was at this time the trio had worked out how to mount the "coughing fraud".

Mrs Ingram said she had admitted that many of the phone calls she had made were not heard by her husband and that he "did not know about Tecwen Whittock".

Mrs Ingram said she had met the college professor through her brother Adrian.

Her brother then asked her to liaise with Mr Whittock while he was on holiday.

The trial continues.

Millionaire: A TV phenomenon
03 Mar 03  |  Entertainment

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